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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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The Man Who Loved Tornadoes.: Special Needs Parenting 101.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A young adult with Asberger's wants to be a storm chaser.

Image of cumulus congestus clouds (c) 2011, by Karla Dorman.

Joel, our son, has always been fascinated with "all things weather", ever since he was a little boy.  

Joel is nineteen.  He has Asberger's, which is a mild form of autism.  He also has learning disabilities.  He is rather immature, as far as behavior goes, but he is still a great kid.  Never really causes much trouble; we are indeed blessed.

Anyway, back to our story.  Joel functions pretty well in certain situations, but he does tend to "fixate" on things, and then we have to do all we can to get him back into the world.  

Lately, it's been weather.  He loves storms, especially if they produce severe events like wind, heavy rains, large hail, dangerous lightning, and his favorite element, tornadoes.  He can tell you all about different tornadic storms (including the date) and where they occurred.  He is extremely intelligent even in light of his disabilities.

The man has a brain from God.  We certainly didin't pass it on to him!  LOL

When the South had the terrible tornadoes last week, Joel spent hours on the computer, chatting with chasers on StormTrack, or watching live feeds on Chaser TV, or getting the latest updates from Facebook.  He also visited, which is the National Weather Service's website, reading all the warnings, and writing them down, word for word, in his black notebook that he keeps with him at all times.

He was sorry to hear that over 300 people died as a result of the storms, but he still enjoyed learning all the latest information and keeping tabs on the event.  As he told me the other day, "I don't mind storms as a rule, but I do when lives and property are lost."

While Joel does fine when he is in his weather world, socially he is a scared, shy person.  It is very hard for him to make friends, and when there are large gatherings of people, he gets extremely nervous.

Like at church; whenever we go to church on Sundays, Joel will sit in the lobby because the large group of people gathered in the sanctuary makes him very uneasy.

We suspect he might be claustrophobic.

I hope that Joel will eventually go to college or at least become a part-time chaser.  He can drive, and nothing would make him happier than to chase a big, bad storm.  I am sure he would really enjoy it.  I wish nothing but the best for our weather-obsessed son; he could make some money if he really worked hard at it.  I am sure if he did, he would do a very good job!

As for me, he can have all the tornadoes.  I don't want anything to do with them! I am a known stormphobic! LOL

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Reviewed by Paul Berube 5/6/2011
Nicely told, Karen.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 5/5/2011
Just found out today they believe Mikey has Aspergers syndrome, well done story though, and I can not even begin to imagine the fear of those storms
In Christs Love
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 5/5/2011
Only the very lucky ones make money at storm chasing; most chase because they are passionate about weather and want to do all they can to understand it and maybe help save lives with early warnings. :) An excellent story, Karen, well done.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

Or in my case, wanting to confront the fear -- but sometimes it gets away with me. Especially when storms wreak havoc with lives and property. Then, I don't like them at all. I just wish storms would go in big, empty fields ... then I wouldn't mind so much.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 5/5/2011
Good Luck to Joel, The Storm Chaser; may his dream come true.

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